The Rock Sins End Of Year Awards are back! After a year off last year due to all things COVID, we are back with a blast for 2021. COVID might still be here, but 2021 has afforded us some brilliant music and a return to live shows. Kicking things off in the awards is Rock Sins’ Acting News Editor Kyle Dimond. Kyle, over to you!
Album of the year: Turnstile – Glow On
2021 saw Turnstile fully transition from being the coolest band in hardcore to the coolest band around period. Packed full of addicting anthems that have elevated the band’s stock massively, this record is fun personified. With a bigger emphasis on the alt-rock elements that started to make their way into their sound on 2018’s ‘Time & Space’, this record has such a unique identity that no other band is capable of pulling off quite like this. Seamless and smooth from start to finish, this album will forever be a go-to of mine when all I want to do is stick on a record that is a certified good time. Now it’s a holiday.
Every Time I Die – Radical
Unto Others – Strength
Trivium – In The Court Of The Dragon
Amenra – De Doorn
Single of the year: Lorna Shore – To The Hellfire
Whilst Spiritbox’s ‘Holy Roller’ was undeniable as the breakthrough moment of the year in 2020, Lorna Shore’s ‘To The Hellfire’ ruled 2021. Whilst Lorna Shore have been around since 2010, this June release marked the first material to be released featuring their new vocalist Will Ramos. As the deathcore revival continued to gain serious momentum this year, Lorna Shore pushed and shoved their way right to the front of that movement with this track, racking up nearly 6 million views on YouTube. Defined by Ramos’ phenomenal vocals and added orchestral layers into their sound, this didn’t just mark the arrival of a new and vastly improved Lorna Shore, it established a new anthem for modern-day deathcore.
Slaughter To Prevail – Baba Yaga
Spiritbox – Circle With Me
Mastodon – Teardrinker
Architects – Impermanence
Creeper – Midnight
Gig of the year: Biffy Clyro – Cardiff Bay
Whilst my choices are massively limited to just a handful of shows that I attended this year, Biffy Clyro at Cardiff Bay was the first show back for me and was definitely the biggest of the year. Biffy themselves are always bang for your buck live and this time they came armed with tracks from their 2020 release ‘A Celebration Of Endings’ the most unanimously well-received album from the Biff in some time at its date of release. With Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes in support, this was just a great moment of 2021. To be back watching live music, especially one of my favourite bands coming off the back of their best album in years, outdoors surrounded by great people, there was no real contention here. It just felt right.
Stream of the year: Architects – For Those That Wish To Exist Live From Abbey Road
This category was a lot denser last year with some bands able to return to some sort of touring this year meaning the number of live streams decreased. Just beating out Behemoth’s 30th-anniversary monstrosity, Architects’ stream from studio 1 at Abbey Road did something new and special just like the best streams in 2020 did. Whilst Behemoth had already produced ‘In Absentia Dei’, this stream saw Architects perform their 2021 release in full with the backing of the parallax orchestra. With the mixed reaction to this record mostly dying out throughout the year, this stream gave every track its moment in the sun and felt like a beautiful moment in time for a band whose last several records have been a whirlwind of emotion and growth.
Music video of the year: Knocked Loose – A Tear In The Fabric Of Life
Clocking in at 21 minutes long, this pick may be considered cheating as it accompanies a whole EP instead of one track. That being said, my end of year awards wouldn’t be complete without acknowledging this wonderfully crafted project from Knocked Loose. Whilst it’s a devastating EP in its own right, the visual accompaniment to ‘A Tear In The Fabric Of Life’ is a beautiful and crushing use of animation that perfectly serves its music counterpart and then some. Whilst it is more of a short film than a music video, no other video can compete with this in terms of scale (not just in terms of length) and creativity so it had to make the list.
Slaughter To Prevail – Baba Yaga
Spiritbox – Hurt You
Trivium – In The Court Of The Dragon
Gojira – Amazonia
Most Disappointing Album Of The Year: A Day To Remember – You’re Welcome
Whilst there are definitely albums that have been worse than this record, you have to take expectations into account. The writing was on the wall for ADTR’s seventh studio album and a lot of people knew exactly what this record would be before it had even arrived but even still, their track record in the past holds up. A jukebox of naff trends all shoehorned in together with none of them even holding up to the low standards of music they’re trying to emulate. Just one album before this (albeit that’s a five-year gap), ADTR were playing in arenas and with their back catalogue of smashes, it really felt like they were one more big record away from cementing that position. This isn’t a band that fans are used to having to lower their expectations for but this record is simply not up to scratch with the rest of their work.
Band of the year – Trivium
In 2020, it was a real toss-up for me between Code Orange and Trivium for band of the year and it came right down to the wire. I settled on giving it to Trivium last year for the way that they engaged with their fans and they’ve retained that status by doing the same thing again. Whilst there have been so many breakthrough bands also deserving of this award, Trivium were once again a beacon of how bands can engage with their fans even when they can’t tour. They once again released a phenomenal record in times where touring is still off and on and their online presence has been even stronger than last year. With Matt Heafy leading the way in showing how musicians can benefit from growing a fanbase on Twitch and their recent live streams of ‘In Waves’ and ‘Deadmen & Dragons’ from the Trivium hangar, they continue to be the most adaptable band in metal whilst keeping the fans with them at all times.
Brand of Sacrifice
Hero of the year: Mark Hoppus
There are countless cases of people doing heroic things in 2021 that deserve to be acknowledged. This is the first one that came into my mind as a moment of unity and appreciation amongst music fans. It’s fair to say that Mark Hoppus showing up in this spot of the awards in recent years would’ve been incredibly unexpected. Diagnosed with stage 4 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma in April, Mark Hoppus’ online presence has been an incredibly open and honest look at his chemotherapy process whilst still remaining light-hearted. The news in September that he was cancer-free was obviously a great moment but his outlook on the whole situation is why he is the hero of the year.
Stay tuned to Rock Sins over the next couple of weeks for more End Of Year Awards from other members of the team!